Video: Pastrana v Carmichael in 2002

It is one of the most memorable battles of 21st century supercross and one of the best wins of David Vuillemin’s career after fan favourite Travis Pastrana ended up on the deck once again courtesy of Ricky Carmichael!

The duo had already had a run-in earlier in the season in a heat race at Phoenix, with Pastrana coming off worse in a duel that always favoured the single-minded RC as you can see below:

Travis Pastrana was the popular new kid on the block (think Adam Cianciarulo or Jett Lawrence when he moves up) and in his first year of premier class supercross action taking on Ricky Carmichael, who’s ruthless race-winning mentality grave him a singular focus that meant he wasn’t worried about being popular with the fans like Pastrana. Added to the spiky situation was the fact RC had taken down the king of the sport, the adored Jeremy McGrath, to become the new champ and face of supercross, and it all meant that RC got royally booed when Travis hit the deck and ended up on the losing end of another bar-to-bar battle with Carmichael.

Vuillemin then went on to stalk Carmichael and make the move in a brilliant win – but ultimately it was Carmichael who had the last laugh when he ran down championship leader Vuillemin to win the title as Pastrana had more crashes and injuries ruling him out of contention. Amazingly, despite his speed, Pastrana never won a premier class race but as you can see below, it wasn’t through a lack of ability,

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In a USA today article, Pastrana said of Carmichael: “Absolutely hated him. Wouldn’t talk to him. When we were on the Suzuki test track, he threw me out and said, “You can’t ride when I ride.” And he was better, so of course everyone was like, “Yep, OK, you can’t ride when he rides.” I was like, “Damn it!” So I went and rode with the Yamaha test track with Chad Reed – who was also a complete (jerk), but we were good friends.”

Pastrana also described Carmichael as an asshole in this interview below as he details why he ended up doing freestyle and why it made him a better person than when he was a racer:

Will we get a rivalry this heated in 20 years later in 2022? With the win at all costs Cooper Webb around, who has a similar mentality to Carmichael with his rivals, it is certainly a possibility!

Article: Jonathan McCready